Do you underestimate or undervalue a prayer meeting? We anticipate the possibilities of sermon and often a song, but we often approach a prayer meeting with low expectations. When you hear of a prayer meeting that’s scheduled in the life of your church—what is your response? Do you view it as meaningful and essential or do you approach it as merely an option—something that’s not really that essential? Consider the possibilities of a corporate prayer meeting.
Remembering God’s Mercy
Prayer is essential because worship is essential. It’s impossible to properly worship God without prayer. One of the key values for a prayer meeting is the vertical aspect of prayer whereby people recall God’s mercy. As Mary sang her prayer to God in Luke 1:46-55, she recalled God’s mercy (Luke 1:50, 54). In Titus 3:5, we are brought to remember God’s mercy in saving sinners. God has lavished his mercy upon us, and the vertical aspect of a prayer meeting calls the congregation to remember what God has done (Rom. 5:8).
All through the Old Testament, the covenants were designed with a call to remember what God had done. Throughout the days of the prophets, they pointed back to the work of God in saving Israel and pointed to the future when Christ would save His Church. As we were commanded by Jesus to eat of the bread and drink of the cup—we are to do so in remembrance of King Jesus (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:25). When praying as a church—take time to recall the great work of God in saving his people from their sins (Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24).
Prayer as a Ministry of Reconciliation
In Matthew 5:7, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Only those who demonstrate merciful attitudes toward others will receive mercy. However, it’s essential to point out that a person doesn’t earn mercy by showing mercy. It’s actually the other way around. The reason a person is merciful is based on the fact that God has been merciful to the sinner.
However, we live in a broken world of sin and the Church is not immune to this problem of division. In fact, Satan is a master at creating disunity in the church. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.” That’s why Paul labored for Christian unity in Ephesians 4:31-32.
The fruit of a corporate prayer service could be the actual unity of a local church. Imagine the sweetness of a church that enjoys true unity. Sins have been confessed, broken roads fixed, wounds healed, and the ugly effects of Satan’s divisive schemes defeated. When a church comes together to pray together, not only will they pray vertically, but they will pray horizontally—lifting up one another’s needs—physically and spiritually. When division is not avoided in prayer, unity can be achieved. Far too often people avoid the reality of division because confession can be messy and often requires transparency and vulnerability.
The next time you have an opportunity to pray together as a church—don’t skip it and don’t approach it as if it’s not profitable. It very well may be exactly what you need. God will use the corporate prayer service in a unique and profitable way in your life if you will engage and involve yourself in true prayer that seeks to honor God and pursue unity among the church. If prayer isn’t really that important, why did Jesus spend so much time praying? Why did Jesus spend time teaching the disciples how to pray and engaging in prayer alongside them?
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.